MLS Players Association urges referee lockout to end

The MLS Players Association on Tuesday urged a quick resolution to the lockout of the league’s referees and cautioned
that the use of replacement game officials during the labor dispute could jeopardize the health of players.

Barring a sudden agreement, the 2024 MLS season opener on Wednesday featuring Argentine great Lionel Messi’s Inter
Miami will be officiated by replacement referees.

According to the MLS Players Association, the 2024 MLS season should be centered around competition on the field.

“Replacing referees will not only harm the quality and results of our matches, but it might also put the health and
safety of our players at risk.”

The MLSPA called the lockout and use of replacement referees a “step backward” for MLS and said all workers deserve
a fair wage, safe working conditions and the ability to collectively bargain in good faith.

It also urged all sides involved to return to the bargaining table and work towards a timely and fair agreement.

The Professional Referee Organisation (PRO) said on Saturday it decided to lock out MLS referees after the
Professional Soccer Referees Association (PSRA) rejected a proposed new labor pact.

Referees last went on strike over labor talks in 2014, when replacement officials were used.

The PSRA said feedback from members indicated the failed ratification was driven by issues with the compensation
and benefits PRO was offering, as well as a lack of improvements to travel, scheduling, and other quality-of-life issues.

According to the PSRA, 97.8% of its membership participated in the vote, with 95.8% voting to reject ratification of the
tentative agreement.

The PSRA also said replacement officials do not have the experience and fitness required to do the job properly and
that players, coaches, and fans deserve referees who best know the MLS game and its rules and applications.

According to MLS, the tentative agreement that was reached would have made PRO members among the highest-paid
soccer match officials in the world.Read More

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